The Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) published an article in its magazine (CIRE) in 1995 about the future of assisted living. Since then, assisted living has become mainstream, in fact most of today’s largest providers were either still privately held or non-existent in 1995.
Although the article is almost 20 years old, it is still relevant today, as competition between assisted living communities is intense. Most of the amenities and unique features that successful communities use in advertising were known “must-haves” in 1995. They were necessary to attract private paying customers. The challenges of building and operating a successful assisted living project haven’t changed much either (with the bursting of the housing bubble starting in 2007 being the biggest difference) .
Wisdom from 1995:
- The management intense nature of running a home is costly.
- High turnover rates of staff, particularly in direct care, is costly.
- The average length of stay for residents is 2 1/2 years ensuring a non-stop marketing campaign.
- Marketing must appeal to both the resident and the resident’s family (most often the oldest daughter or daughter in-law).
- Active seniors will shun a community predominated by the frail and sickly.
- Euphemistic or confusing names will attract the wrong market.
- The typical resident is a widow, in her early 80’s with an income of about $20,000 (in 2012 the resident was female, 86, earning $30k per year).
- The typical resident has children but cannot live with them because they work.
- Assisted living communities should resemble “home” and not an institution.
- The best communities provide safety, ease of obtaining help, a comfortable setting and autonomy.
- The best locations are in town; residents do not want isolation, they want access to the active world.
- The aesthetics of the building and its grounds (they must be landscaped) are a huge selling point.
- Colorado Springs makes room for Six New Assisted Living Facilites (scstuffblog.wordpress.com)
- Kids in Assisted Living: Everyone Wins (aarp.org)